Uniforms at the ball are for women too

Scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post I wish I had seen a long time ago. Before I even get started, I have to admit, I never wore a uniform to a service ball. I loved getting all dressed up in my finest gown. I never realized until now that I was part of the problem I’m now trying to fix.

Fleet Master Chief (retired) JoAnn Ortloff said it so much better than I ever could so most of this will be in her words. I’ll just chime in every now and then.

First of all, she is so shocked by the fact that many women don’t want to wear their uniforms to the ball that it is breaking her heart. Then she points out why.
“I understand some of you may feel that you can only have fun and look sexy or pretty in a gown and make up. But I would tell you, your beauty in uniform comes through in your commitment to something bigger than you.”

Marines ball

In this photo, Reserve Marine Sgt. Kelsey DeSantis took Justin Timberlake to the Marine Corps ball. She is proudly wearing her uniform, and looks beautiful doing so. Continue reading “Uniforms at the ball are for women too”

Paving the way for more women

We live in a world of continuous progress.

Less than a month ago, Army Staff Sgt. Amanda F. Kelley became the first female enlisted soldier to earn an Army Ranger Tab. While she is the 13th woman to graduate the school, she is the first from the enlisted ranks. She is also unique because she doesn’t have a background in any of the Army’s combat arms military occupational specialties. She was an electronics warfare technician.

Her path was paved by the first two women to graduate the course, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver. My favorite part of reading about these two women is how they proved themselves during their time completing this course. The past two years have shown about a 40 percent graduation rate for men going through the course, so it’s clearly not easy.

According to the article linked above, they proved themselves to their classmates with their actions. During one phase of training a classmate said he had hit a mental wall, and didn’t think he could go on. When he asked for help, the men just looked at him, but Haver took some of his burden, so he was able to continue.

haver Continue reading “Paving the way for more women”

Navy Chief, Navy Pride

By the end of the day Friday, nearly 4,700 Sailors became Chief Petty Officers. The Navy has had Chiefs for 125 years. The Chief’s Mess is often referred to as a fraternity or brotherhood. While those terms may be used every now and then, the large number of women included in the group make the terms somewhat outdated. Still, the bonding in a fraternity or sorority still exists. The closeness that siblings share still exists.

I never reached that milestone in my career, but I am still always so proud when I see my shipmates reaching that pinnacle. So, today, I’ll share a few images from ceremonies around the world.

lori bent

The first image is a friend of mine. When I met Lori, now Chief Petty Officer Lori Bent, we were both working at Defense Media Activity. She was a second class petty officer at the time. Then I moved on to work at the Defense Information School. Shortly before I retired, Lori arrived there as a first class petty officer. Her hard work and dedication helped her reach this milestone and I am so happy for her. Continue reading “Navy Chief, Navy Pride”

Real-life Women Military Heroes

Breaking the glass ceiling

When I first heard about women breaking the glass ceiling, I thought it only referred to women trying to be leaders in business. Once I joined the Navy, I learned about women who have been doing this throughout the military.

Although I never met her, I was really happy to serve on the ship where Command Master Chief Beth Lambert became the first female command master chief of an aircraft carrier.

Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMDCM) Beth Lambert

Another Navy heroine, who I heard a lot about but never got to meet, is Adm. Michelle Howard


She became the first female four-star admiral on July 1, 2014. On that same day, she also became the vice chief of naval operations. I’m pretty sure her appointment was due at least partly to her actions while serving as the commander of Task Force 151. For those who don’t know or maybe don’t remember, that is the anti-piracy task force. Howard was in command during the rescue of Capt. Phillips from Somali pirates. Long before that, she was the first African-American female to command a ship. Continue reading “Real-life Women Military Heroes”

Military Women Remember 9/11

I hadn’t intended to post today. However, after a day of scrolling through Facebook, I would really like to share a few stories of women who have served or are serving in the military, and where they were on 9/11.

My Story: I guess I’ll start with my story. I left Japan on September 1. I was home on leave, en route to my next duty station in Sicily. My dad called from work. I really couldn’t believe it was happening. Nothing seemed real to me. As the shock wore off, I wondered if I was going to get a call to head to Sicily early. That didn’t happen, so I was very happy that I was able to be with my family at that time.

Susan’s story: A story I read on the 10th was shared by Susan Henson. She wrote about her experiences as a submission to the National Endowment for the Arts. At the time she shared this story, she was a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy.

On 9/11, she was working in the Pentagon. She and her coworkers felt the hit.

My friend, Suzette, was working with Susan. She had reached for the phone to call her husband when she looked up and saw the plane coming toward the building.

As the alarm sounded to evacuate the building, everyone headed to the courtyard.

911 image

Susan had some medical training, and had recently renewed her CPR qualification. She began to help in giving care to injured personnel in the courtyard. Continue reading “Military Women Remember 9/11”

Women in many roles, even final journey

This is my first post on the blog. It may be a little odd, but most of the material I’ll be discussing comes from a blog one of my fellow mass communication specialists wrote a few years ago.

As a woman in the Navy, I saw women around me every day. I worked with them. I ate with them. On deployment, we even shared living accommodations.

So, once I retired, my daily circle shifted. Sure, I still see women veterans at the Veterans Services office where I work at Frederick Community College, but I am also around teachers, students, people at stores, people at parties, and so on. Wasn’t I surprised to learn that a lot of Americans don’t have a full understanding of what women are doing in the military?

When someone thinks of a soldier driving a truck in Afghanistan, they aren’t picturing a woman. They aren’t picturing them as doctors or nurses. They aren’t picturing them as wounded warriors being flown into the medical facilities where medical personnel do everything they can just to keep this woman alive.


Most of all, when they see photos of coffins, draped in flags, coming off a plane, most people don’t consider that some of those coffins could be carrying women. Continue reading “Women in many roles, even final journey”